Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract serves to transport food and absorb nutrients to sustain life. The main functions of the GI tract include the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste.* Pathologic conditions affecting the GI system result from the impairment of these functions. Malignancies in the GI tract, specifically the colon, are common conditions that affect this system. The most common signs and symptoms associated with GI disease include the following: (1) chest and/or abdominal pain, (2) disturbances in food ingestion (possibly due to vomiting, nausea, difficulty or painful swallowing, or anorexia),1 (3) alteration in bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea), and (4) bleeding in the GI tract. The anatomy of the GI system is shown in Figure 6–1. Table 6–1 summarizes the selected GI pathologies discussed in this chapter. Table 6–2 identifies organs associated with abdominal quadrants.


Gastrointestinal system. (Reproduced with permission from Ash R, Morton DA, Scott SA. The Big Picture: Histology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2013. Figure 12–1A.)

TABLE 6–1Selected gastrointestinal pathologies.
TABLE 6–2Organs associated with abdominal quadrants.

|Download (.pdf)|Print
High-Yield Terms to Learn
Borborygmi High-pitched bowel sounds that may be due to hyperactivity of the intestines.
Crohn’s disease A chronic inflammatory disease affecting the distal portion of the ileum and the colon.
Diverticulosis versus diverticulitis Diverticulosis is a benign condition in which the ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.